Meren päällä ohuempaa

by Olli Virtaperko

Thinner above the sea

for renaissance recorder quartet

Empty sheet

Olli Virtaperko

Meren päällä ohuempaa

Music Finland


1. soprano recorder, garklein, bass recorder in F
2. tenor recorder, bass recorder in F
3. tenor recorder, bass recorder in C
4. alto recorder, sub-contrabass recorder in F

Meren päällä ohuempaa is a three-movement work for
Renaissance recoder quartet. During the compositional process I was
simultaniously writing music for Yle Radio Theathre audio drama Urian kirje (Letter to Uriah). I used the Bravade
recorder quartet as a performer in both projects. That resulted the two
works being musically and conceptually closely connected to each other.

The audio drama focused on the desteny of a refugee ship at the Gulf
of Botnia during the second world war. The different aspects of water
sounds were in focus in the radio play audio track, which we worked on
together with Tiina Luoma, the audio engeneer of Yle.
Our long list of desired sounds included bubbles, whoosh, hiss and
different kinds of wave sounds, which were reproduced with Renaissance
recorders. One sound whish was enigmatically expressed as ”meren päällä ohuempaa?” (thinner above the sea?). Eventually, it gave the name and inspiration for both the third movement of the quartet and for the whole piece.

Meren päällä ohuempaa reflects my current musical interests;
I focus on timbre, musical colour and their gradual evolving and
changing. Several extended instrumental techniques are applied in the
piece, such as different kinds of mouth noises, glissandos, labium
vibrato, multiphonics and the combination of singing and playing. The
use of special techniques is not a value in itself for me, but rather a
result of the combination of the musical goals and the resources of the
instruments and players at my disposal. In the case of Bravade and
Renaissance recorders I was impressed with the candid attitude of the
four musicians and their willingness of try out new things. The
instruments, on the other hand, were full of possibilities with their
wide range of dynamics, abundance of multiphonics and the beautifully
resonating just intervals of meantone tuning.”

Olli Virtaperko, March 2016




Chamber Works


Bravade Recorder Quartet, Kymijoen Lohisoitto Festival, Langinkoski, Kotka, Finland, 9 June 2016.


I Vedenalaiset lähteet (Underwater springs), II Parviäly (Swarm intelligence), III Meren päällä ohuempaa (Thinner above the sea)

Commisioned by / dedications

Commissioned by the Bravade Recorder Quartet.

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